I hope this email finds you well as you navigate the uncertainties and responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, I commenced my first term as the new Chair of EDAS (the Economic Development Association Scotland). I take on this role at a time like no other. When I was appointed in December, I could not have imagined the changes that would take place to our working lives and personal freedoms in just a few short months, let alone the terrible human cost this pandemic is bringing.
The current COVID-19 crisis is a game changer. While UK and Scottish Government responses rightly prioritise public health measures to save lives, this comes at huge cost to our economy. Throughout this unprecedented time, I know that our role in EDAS is to build an understanding of what this means for our economy and of the best way those working in economic development can respond.
In this regard, I am thankful to be chairing a highly skilled board that reflects the diverse interests of the economic development community in Scotland, to Robert Pollock, who has led EDAS so ably throughout the last five years and to the excellent EDAS staff who support and enable all we do.
Our priority in the weeks and months ahead will be to listen to our members, sharing their views and ideas, so we can make the case for a comprehensive economic recovery plan when the time comes – one that focuses on wellbeing and equality as well as growth as we continue to lead debate and dialogue about creating an inclusive economy . In all of this, we will look to new ways to engage, safely, with you as we shape this important agenda and work to promote economic prosperity in every sense for Scotland’s people, businesses and communities in the years to come.
EDAS has prepared the statement below on the new work we will be considering during this time, from looking right now at our resilience and ability to best support the economic development community; to building an understanding of how COVID-19 and its impact here and at global level will affect our economy; and to what will be needed in terms of recovery and restructuring going forward when the world has experienced such a seismic shift.
As a Board, we will be meeting virtually every two to six weeks during this time to assess how we can support our members going forward, whilst creating spaces to engage with you in shaping what we do. I very much look forward to working with you during this unprecedented time in all of our lives. I am sure that what we are facing now will forge new relationships and ways of working that will stand us in good stead as we move through the crisis and beyond. It is certainly a reminder of our vulnerability, strength and humanity.